Tope & United for Kids Foundation: Doing a GREAT JOB!
Those who know about Edustuff Inc. know that we generally opt for the “train the trainer” style with the low income schools we work with, but on the 12th of March, 2014, we tried the other option (which has been nagging me but I always thought it impossible).
With some ladies — Aisha Bint Ibrahim, Bash Balogun, Oluwa To Yin, Aminat Gbaja, Temitope Y-a (kudos to you guys, I really admire your enthusiasm and courage), we decided to try out a new challenge.
These ladies volunteered for the United for Kids Foundation Reading Program, (I never met them before except one person), nor have they ever taught in a classroom and who don’t know jack about how to teach phonics! We embarked on a “train the trainee – and just get the kids reading!” program.
The story is this: Public schools in Nigeria (especially Nursery and Primary) are an eyesore, earsore, and nothing-to-write-home-about educational burden on the system. Now, this is by no means the fault of the pupils whose parents can’t afford better, and because they want their kids to be “educated”, they send them to these school supposedly “catered” for by the government.
I have always been skeptical and worried about the children in both public and low budget “private” schools. It’s not that the children don’t have the interest, ability or willingness to be like their mates in the highbrow schools; it’s more the lack of care, attention, and support from those in charge of their educational welfare (government). Or as the case with the low budget “private” schools, their owners started the school with no knowledge whatsoever of what should be taught, can’t speak proper english (which is the communication medium chosen by them for teaching), and usually decide on a trial and error method/ I stick to the national curiculum method (curiculum is written by people I sincerely believe have never worked in a classroom setting!) Imagine telling a school to teach 2yr olds the names of all the 36 local government areas in Lagos state!!!!
I remember the hadith on a leader being responsible for his people, meaning he will answer to any injustice done by him to his people – Do we take heed?
These years I have spent out of the classroom and on the field has made me more aware of the fact that this nation is purposely churning out illiterates! If the children of the public officers “at the top” were in these school, would it be the same story? I think not.
Anyway, we had an interesting session assessing the kids, we bonded, and are all determined to see this project to the end – where the kids will be reading fluently.
A special thank you to United for Kids Foundation for starting out the library project because I doubt we would have started this if there was no library. UKF has built four libraries in Lagos and we hope there will be more to come – in fact, we pray for it!
The adults involved with the kids and their education are only concerned about themselves and their pockets. It would really be wonderful if more people would get out of their cosy shells, and come out and try to make a change in another individual’s life, an individual not related or known to them.
We hope to start volunteer trainings when the kids go on holiday so it’s not too late to join. Volunteer work actually starts next educational term, once a week (1-2pm on wednesdays), that’s one day of lunch hour from the office.
So what do you say? Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. See ya!
Special request to the men – We would REALLY appreciate male volunteer teachers too, you know!
There will also be a fundraising towards this program in the US – Will keep you posted!